Great Kids, Great Parents

Infant/Child Development and the Importance of Children's Feelings

Progress in Efforts to Stop Spanking and Other Physical Punishments

Stop Spanking and Other Physical Punishments

Legislation to ban corporal punishment in schools has been introduced in the US House of Representatives. New York Representative Carolyn McCarthy recently introduced a bill "To end the use of corporal punishment in schools..." (HR 5628).

This bill would prohibit corporal punishment in public and private schools throughout the United States. Though there is no evidence that corporal punishment has any beneficial effect on children's behavior - and much evidence of deleterious effects - 20 states still allow it.

A congressional committee recently held a hearing about the subject and found that as many as 10,000-20,000 children sought medical treatment as a result of being physically disciplined in schools.

Many medical and psychological organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychoanalytic Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, have position statements condemning physical punishment.

For further information about this congressional bill (HR 5628), go to, click on Advocacy, then Legislative Alerts and Updates, then Support Legislation to Ban Corporal Punishment in Schools.

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Good news

Good to know that this step is being taken. I'm surprised at the number of states that still allow corporal punishment and REALLY surprised at the number of medical injuries it can cause. That's heartbreaking.

Corporal Punishment

Thanks for your comment.

Perhaps it makes sense for all of us who are interested to contact our US Representative to support HR 5628. Medical and psychological groups are supporting this bill.

The deleterious effects of physical punishment ― and the easy and beneficial alternatives ― are national and international issues. The Position Statement of the American Psychoanalytic Association is wonderfully comprehensive and suggests marvelous alternatives to physical punishment (go to, then click on About APsaA, then on Position Statements, then on 2010-Physical Punishment).

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Paul C. Holinger, M.D., M.P.H., is a psychiatrist and adult and child/adolescent psychoanalyst. He is author of What Babies Say Before They Can Talk.


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